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Why Am I Not The Center Of Your Universe?

July 25, 2010

So I watched Black (Insert Star Symbol Here) Rock Shooter.

I figured it was going to be some fluff piece with a little bit of fighting and a bunch of crappy Vocaloid songs, all of which would be strung together very loosely by a nonsensical plot that boils down to “anime chicks that look like they were drawn by Rob Liefeld like to kill each other.” I wasn’t looking forward to it or anything, but I figured it’d be an amusing diversion if it stuck with something resembling my assumptions.

Nope. We got something completely different and utterly stupid.

The OAV is all about how petty and self-centered children can be.

Two middle school girls become friends. They’re in the same class and live in the same neighborhood. They do shit together. But one of them makes a grave mistake: She chooses to be in the basketball club when the other girl doesn’t want to be on the basketball team. The other girl chooses to play volleyball. Basketball chick makes another friend on her team. This makes volleyball chick jealous. Then they’re separated into different classes during their second year of school. So they’re no longer together every waking minute of their lives. But they still hang out together and walk home together and live in the same neighborhood and essentially see each other all the time.

But this isn’t enough for volleyball chick. Nope. She wants basketball chick all to herself. V-gal can’t bear to see someone else be friends with B-gal, so she mopes and angsts and shit. Then she disappears one day because she’s mopey and angsty about not being B-gal’s only friend.

So V-gal makes a big deal out of not being B-gal’s center of attention. It isn’t like B-gal ignored her or said bad things about her or anything like that. B-gal just didn’t focus all of her attention upon V-gal when she demanded it and she couldn’t handle it. This leads her to somehow get sucked into some alternate dimension or something like that.

So V-gal up and disappears one day and B-gal gets upset. She misses hanging out with V-gal for one entire afternoon and she gets mopey and angsty. B-gal just can’t cope with the idea that V-gal might need to do something after school that doesn’t involve her. Insert lots of staring at cell phones as she wonders what happened to her best friend (Most of which happens well before a day passes and it becomes reasonable to wonder where V-gal went.) until B-gal finally gets sucked into the other world and saves V-gal with the power of martial arts hugging.

So we have two petty, immature, obnoxious little girls who can’t deal with simple interpersonal relationships. They’re both so dependent on the other that they can’t function without the other giving their complete and undivided attention. The slightest little thing, such as “I have another friend” or “You didn’t walk home with me this afternoon” sets them off into a dismal spiral of despair. Yeah, they’re middle school kids and far from being mature, but even kids that age can grasp basic concepts like “people have multiple friends and you gotta divide your time amongst them.” It’s one thing for a kindergartener to feel that way, since I know when I was five or so I’d get irritated if someone wanted the attention of my best friend, but even then I didn’t go and get depressed over it the way these kids do.

It makes the whole OAV utterly unappealing to see the two main characters behave in such an unbelievable and pathetic manner. It isn’t a matter of seeing a villain do villainous things that you love to hate, it’s a matter of seeing people behave in a manner that’s as grating as someone running their nails on a chalkboard. It’s a painful experience.

And it’s a shame that their personalities are so grating, because the action scenes are pretty decent. They’re hardly anything groundbreaking, but they’re well-executed. The camera is pulled back far enough in most instances that we can see what, exactly, the characters are doing with each attack. There’s some clever use of their nonsensical abilities. Unfortunately, these scenes take up maybe ten minutes of the entire OAV. Ten minutes of decent action compared to roughly 45 minutes of spoiled brats showing their lack of social skills. Even though the action scenes are good, I can’t recommend that anyone suffer through the other bits to get to them.

I don’t mind seeing some slice of life. I honestly don’t. There’s plenty of series that deal with everyday life and end up being good in the end. The problem is that Black Rock Shooter’s slice of lifeness is of the “nothing happens that remotely resembles real life, but let’s pretend that this is supposed to be a realistic depiction of little kids doing stuff at school” variety. No good gags or jokes, no personal drama that’s relatable, and the only interesting bits could easily be severed from the whole sicne they’re so drastically different from the mundane world bits.

Black Rock Shooter’s just plain bad.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 25, 2010 10:04 AM

    From my view, it’s like this.

    The slice of life parts which dominate the OVA, fail. Not just because they’re unrelatable, although that is one fairly major aspect. Let’s face it, not only do the girls act like they literally have some sort of retard syndrome that make them unable to integrate with society, but their topics of discussion are totally abnormal, as in no normal set of people would ever talk about such things in casual conversation unless they’re trying to impress strangers.

    About the only time they do something normal is when they were reading an issue of Slam Dunk together.

    But no, the reason why the slice of life segments fail is for the simple fact that they are booooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooring.

    And the fights? Well, thing is, I actually didn’t dig the fights very much. Don’t get me wrong, the choreography and camera work were decent, but without proper build up or a clear context, it lacks the ability to hook the viewer in.

    It’s sad that the most “realistic” slice of life (outside of Genshiken, but they’re in college, so it don’t count) is Azumanga Daioh, because while the girls there don’t talk pop culture, at least they had realistic (if exaggerated) personality types and generally acted like idiots/goofballs, just like a real bunch of friends do.

    So just like K-On!!, BRS fails in its slice of life aspect, which makes up the majority of its screen time.

  2. July 25, 2010 1:36 PM

    [gg] released a version where they cut out all the s’life bits and just had the other-worldly bits. What you’re left with is a cool experimental animation OVA about some girl who’s trying to fix her friendship with another girl. Without either of them saying a word to each other. On that very simple level, it would be a pretty cool OVA. People should watch that version only

    • Landon permalink
      July 25, 2010 2:11 PM

      Just watched it. Yep, pretty much what the OAV should have been from the get-go. Just enough stuff tossed out for viewers to piece together their own interpretation of what’s going on while dishing out the action.

  3. July 25, 2010 3:34 PM

    Yomi was jealous because Mato started being less rabu☆rabu with her, and started hanging out with another girl, after dating for a year, like how some people go crazy when they see their lovers hanging out with people of the opposite sex, and the ten minute fight between Black★Rock Shooter and Dead Master was just some lover’s quarrel. Of course, now Yuu’s jealous of their relationship together, but anyone that’s watched all of Boku no Pico can tell you that she doesn’t need to be. That’s how I see it.

    Also: alt+9733 = ★ :V

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